God’s word > Man’s word

…and I will begin reading in chapter 3 of Galatians, verse 1. Please read carefully with me, please fasten your eyes on a Bible. If you do not have one in front of you look on with someone seated next or nearby you for these indeed are the most important words I will communicate this evening.

This is how C.J. Mahaney begins his sermon “Interrogating the Legalist Within”. The sermon itself is very convicting, a blend of humor and doctrine addressing how to deal with man’s ever present problem of “self-atonement”, but that is not the point of this post.

I loved how he introduced his text, partly because it is so obviously true yet so easily forgotten. No doubt C.J. Mahaney is a great speaker and he surely preaches like a dying man to dying people. It is so easy to anticipate the message when the reading of the text is the most important part, the God-inspired part. All the doctrine that men preach on comes straight from the Bible; it is their job to communicate what the Bible says to the less articulate and less studious.

It is so much easier to exalt these men rather than exalt God’s word, from which our knowledge of Christ and other truths come from. Why? I believe it is because we are lazy and want things spoon fed to us rather than investigate for ourselves. That is why there is so much more hearing than meditation in modern day churches.

Often I feel like I am convicted and rebuked more by pastoral insight rather than God’s word. It is easy to forget that speakers are mere men whose job is to communicate God’s message. It is the grace of God found in the word that sustains us, not the word of men. Man’s word is not eternal but God’s word is everlasting.

I need to learn and be convicted by the power of the Word.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. steve240 says:

    You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads:


    These show another side.

    Hope this helps.

  2. anthony locke says:

    I already knew most of the not-so-flattering, even cruel things regarding Sovereign Grace Ministries. However, I don’t necessarily attribute all of its faults to C.J. Mahaney himself and I still think he is a good speaker and that he makes good points as mentioned in this post.

    However his background does warrant some concern, perhaps even more so than Mark Driscoll.

    1. steve240 says:


      I am glad that you feel that Mahaney’s background does warrant some concerns.

      I personally don’t know how one couldn’t hold Mahaney responsible for what is reported to be going on in his organization Some even call him the “pope” of Sovereign Grace Ministries. The abuses don’t appear to be isolated incidents in the group but pretty systemic. Shouldn’t the “buck stop” with Mahaney.

      Not everyone realizes that the local pastors at each SGM Church are not accountable to a group of local elders as is the polity in a lot of other churches outside of SGM. Mahaney doesn’t appear to be accountable to anyone. I am sure that this lack of accountability contributes to what appears to be going on in the group.

      I find this lack of accountability baffling in light of how much Mahaney and the group focuses on indwelling sin etc. If man is so sinful, why set up a group that doesn’t take this “sinfulness” into account in its polity.

      Mahaney certainly is a skilled speaker but there are a number infamous people in history that were skilled speakers.

  3. anthony locke says:

    I read through a bulk of the articles but I don’t recall reading too much about pastoral problems. I remember reading about a pastor’s son and a pastor’s response, but not so much their own accoutability.

    I did see a problem of the patriarchal system, though I think that some problems may be men misinterpreting scripture… or picking and choosing what parts of the Bible apply to them and how they conduct themselves in the home. You’ll always have people misinterpreting scripture. However you’ll have to be more clear when addressing this problem of indwelling sin within SGM’s pastoral ministry.

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